Weary Spirit hands Canton 11th loss in row McIntosh and Esposito pace 10-8 triumph

March 11, 1996|By Megan Malone | Megan Malone,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

CANTON, Ohio -- The Baltimore Spirit was a bit weary but willing yesterday as it held off a final surge by the Canton Invaders to win, 10-8, at the Memorial Civic Center.

This was the closest of four meetings between the National Professional Soccer League teams, but the outcome was the same.

Baltimore, which arrived in Canton at 6 a.m. after a three-point loss in Harrisburg, Pa., scored the first and last goals. Canton tied the game three times, but could not put together a scoring play in the final minute.

John Garvey's goal at 13: 01 of the fourth quarter off a pass from Franklin McIntosh was the game-winner.

The Spirit's first three goals were scored on free kicks and all were cross-court passes knocked in by the man on the right post.

McIntosh scored an unassisted two-point goal at 4: 14 in the fourth to give the Spirit an 8-6 lead. McIntosh and Bobby Joe Esposito each had four points, as did Canton's Ben Powers.

The Spirit (22-13) has won nine of its past 10 games, and the Invaders (4-32) have lost 11 straight.

"We were very flat," Spirit coach Mike Stankovic said. "We did bTC what we had to do to win. The Invaders gave us more trouble tonight than they have in the past, probably because of our energy level."

It wasn't an easy game for either team.

The Spirit's loss to Harrisburg on Saturday ended an eight-game win streak. Canton was playing its first game since Tuesday's trade of the team's player/coach, Denzil Antonio, and leading scorer Marcelo Carrera to the Buffalo Blizzard.

"With everything that went on here this week, I think the kids played well," said newly promoted Canton coach Willie Carrasco.

Powers scored two-point goals in the first and third periods. Carlos Ledesma had Canton's other goal at 8: 19 in the third with an assist by Doug Swanson, who was voted the team's captain for the remaining four games.

Invaders goalkeeper Drew Burwash, who had 21 saves, drew praise from Carrasco and Stankovic.

"Their goalkeeper made a lot of saves, too many to remember," Stankovic said.

"He played very well, and that makes a big difference. When a goalkeeper's hot, you can't easily beat him."

The Spirit took 15 shots on goal during the second period, and Burwash allowed only one goal.

"That's my job," Burwash said. "There are a couple of things I need to work on, like reading into situations quicker, but I think I played a solid game.

"I couldn't do anything without the guys playing in the front of me, though. That was the best effort we've put out in awhile. We played with a lot more emotion today, and that's the effort we need night after night."

Pub Date: 3/11/96

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